September 27, 2011

Randy Barning with Mickey Mantle at Connecticut card show, approximately 1980

Click on photo to enlarge

Our collection of photos taken at baseball card shows is extensive. Hundreds were used in Baseball Hobby News which we published from 1979-93. Many will be posted in our blog in the coming months, dozens from early National Sports Collectors Conventions.

Of all the photos in the collection, this is my favorite. Our son Randy was seven years old at the time and he treasures this picture. In fact, he included it on his "senior page" in his high school yearbook 20 years ago. It was taken by a teenage photographer, John Paul Ruplenas, who freelanced for Baseball Hobby News.

A friend of ours wants to use this picture in a book he is putting together, but needs permission from Ruplenas. I have not been in touch with John for decades and a Google search yields nothing. All I remember is that he lived in New England, probably in Connecticut where this was snapped.

Mantle was about 50 years old at the time and looked fit and healthy. Both of their expressions are priceless. You can see a Sharpie autograph pen in Mantle's left hand. When it was suggested by show promoter Dave Zimmerman that Randy sit on his lap for a picture, The Mick couldn't have been more cooperative.

It doesn't seem possible but Mantle died 16 years ago, August 13, 1995.

1 comment:

Jeffrey Leonard said...

I remember that you told me about meeting Mickey. I was lucky enough to meet him too. It was at an exclusive art show in Venice, CA that was selling limited photo prints of him. There were only about 100 people in attendance, so everyone got to spend some quality time with him. I pointed to one of the photos where he obviously had swung at the ball and missed. Mickey said, "I'm sure I had a hangover". I will never forget it. He signed the program for me that I now have framed and hanging in my sports den.